What’s the Best Roof for the Money?

When you’re thinking about a new roof for your home, you have many factors to consider. There’s the existing roof type, and if you want to use that material again. Will you be staying in the home for the long term, for the short term, or you’re just not sure? Is the full cost coming out of your own pocket, or is there insurance money to use? And also, what’s the best roof for the money?

Those first questions are more about you and your preferences and circumstances. The best roof for the money may be a tougher question. We have to consider your particular needs, your budget, and how long you plan to stay in your home. Each of the main types of roofing materials—asphalt shingles, metal, tiles, and synthetic—has pros and cons. Let’s take a look at those.

Tile Roofing

With tile roofing, we’re talking about clay tile, concrete tile, and slate tile. These are premium products that will cost at the high end of the range, and offer a long lifespan.

  • Clay tile: With clay tile, you are getting that classic “old-world” look along with exceptional durability. Clay tiles have been used for thousands of years around the world and are proven. They are extremely popular in Florida, as you may have noticed. This material is available in several different profiles and most are variations of the terra cotta color, though you do see some other earth tones. They’re made of earth, after all. You’ll see prices from about $1400 per square, installed, and up for a roof that you can expect to last more than 50 years.
  • Concrete tile: This is a newer product that offers exceptional versatility. The manufacturers cast and color the tiles to mimic clay tiles, slate tiles, and cedar shakes. I’ve seen these tiles with 75-year warranties, which is amazing. The price range starts a bit lower than clay tiles, closer to $900 per square, installed, and going up from there.
  • Slate tile: Another “old-world” choice, slate tiles can last more than 100 years in the right conditions. Since this is a natural product that’s taken out of a quarry, there can be some variation in the appearance of the tiles, such as several different color choices. You’ll also see a price range that reflects the differences in the slate, from about $1000 per square, installed, to about $3000 per square, installed. In addition to the different colors, some slate is softer, which is less durable, and that costs a bit less, typically. Slate tiles also come in different thickness, which is also reflected in the cost.

Plastic Roofing

The “new kid on the block” is plastic roof tiles. You can call it synthetic also, or composite, though the manufacturers make a distinction and all claim that their product is superior. This product, like concrete, can replicate traditional materials like slate tile, cedar shakes, and clay tiles. They look very good and some offer a lifetime warranty, which is certainly a good value if it holds up as intended. Pricing starts at around $900 per square, installed, and goes up from there. Plastic roof tiles offer top-notch impact resistance, but may not last as long overall as genuine slate. Real slate can last more than 100 years in the real world.

Metal Roofing

This is a large category of materials, including screw-down roofing, standing seam roofing, and metal shingles. Not to mention the choice of metals that includes steel, aluminum, zinc, and copper.

Screw-down roofing

You can get this type of roof installed for $550 per square and up, so it is probably the most affordable metal roof. As the name suggests, your contractor will install the steel panels with visible screws. In a coastal area this could be cause for concern, with all those holes in the surface.

Standing-seam roofing

Standing-seam roofing may be the best roof for the money.

An upgrade over a screw-down roof and definitely one of the best roofs is a standing-seam roof. You can get this type of roof in either steel or aluminum. For coastal areas, nonrusting aluminum is a fantastic choice. With a standing seam roof, your contractor screws metal clips into the roof deck. He can then create full-length panels on-site with two vertical “legs” that lock together over the clips. It appears to be seamless and there are no visible fasteners. You’ll pay $1000 and up per square, installed, but can expect 50 years and more from this type of roof. You can also opt for a standing-seam zinc roof, which is stronger than aluminum. Zinc routinely lasts for more than 80 years, but your cost will probably be in the range of $1200 per square and up, installed. This is definitely on the short list for the best roof for the money. Copper, also is a premium material that offers a distinctive appearance. Over time it develops the green verdigris patina. At $1500 and up per square, installed it’s actually a good value when you consider the potential 100+ year lifespan.

Metal shingles

These are a new product but make use of the advantages of metal: its strength compared to its weight. Plus, metal can be molded to look similar to clay tiles, slate, and cedar shakes without the weight of those materials. Looks are subjective, but I think they look quite good and their pricing is midrange: from just $600 depending on the material you choose. You can look at steel shingles with a painted finish, stone-coated steel, or aluminum shingles.

Asphalt Shingles

best roof for the money
Asphalt shingles come in a range of colors.

There’s a reason that 70% of U.S. homes have asphalt shingles on the roof. Actually, there are several reasons. For one, the big homebuilders use them routinely. For another, they’re the budget choice, and replacing a roof is a big chunk of money. Finally, they’re a good product. They are often not as durable as the other products, but they cost quite a lot less. You can get a professionally installed roof with top-quality architectural shingles from GAF, CertainTeed, or Owens Corning for around $350 per square, installed. That’s a big difference when the budget matters, so you might actually think asphalt shingles are the best roof for the money. When you buy good products and hire a top contractor, this roof can be a 15—20 year roof in Florida.

So What’s the Best Roof for the Money In the Tampa Bay Area?

That’s a tough call. Asphalt shingles offer solid value and are a good product. They just can’t be a lifetime product. A standing-seam zinc roof will outlive most people and will cost 4x an asphalt shingle roof. But some people don’t like the look. That’s important too. I’d say getting a roof you like the looks of and working with a reputable contractor are the keys to a good experience.

If you need a new roof, we can help you decide which roof option is best for your home. Give us a call at 813-373-9088. Our team has more than 40 years of experience in roofing. You can also use this form and ask us “What’s the best roof for the money?” and we will contact you.

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